On Being a Fool


“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.”

– Chinese proverb

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Portuguese Proverbs


É de pequenino que se torce o pepino.

“It’s when it’s small that the cucumber gets warped.”

  • Meaning: Bad habits acquired during early life last long; children should learn moral habits from a tender age.
  • Ganho, Ana Sofia; McGovern, Timothy Michael (2004). Using Portuguese: A Guide to Contemporary Usage. Cambridge University Press. p. 89.

A necessidade não tem lei, mas a da fome sobre todas pode.

“Necessity has no law.”

  • English equivalent: idem.
  • Mawr, E.B. (1885). Analogous Proverbs in Ten Languages. p. 60.

Muita palha e pouco grão.

“Much ado about nothing.”

  • English equivalent: Much bran and little meal.
  • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). “178”. Dictionary of European Proverbs. II. Routledge. p. 173. 

Quem não arrisca não petisca.

“He who doesn’t take a chance won’t nibble.”

  • Meaning: If you don’t try, or take the risk, you can’t have any profit.
  • English Equivalent: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
  • Taylor, Martin (1970). A Portuguese-English dictionary: revised. University Press. p. 72.